Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Reserve the Right to Waffle...

We took a couple days off and had a little mini-vacation up north this past weekend. Thursday night, I took my wife, son, and brother-in-law to see the Patriots lose to the Packers in pre-season football (my wife's sister's father-in-law has season tickets and wasn't going. TheBoy is a Packers fan and it was just perfect).

On the ride up, the Mrs. and I came up with a third option for the new ride. While I still really want the Challenger, right now it's just not in the cards. We were noodling over a mid-range sedan, thinking that something we could pay off in 4 years or less would be good, and then we can discuss the Challenger at that point. The Mrs.' Pilot will be about the same age as the Dodge is now, and reaching the same milestones (new tires/brakes/etc.), so it would be a natural time to trade in before putting a lot of work into it.

Then we realized: Why not a small, AWD SUV?

The Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota Rav4 are all well-within the price range that lets us achieve the "mid-range sedan" objective. The CR-V and the Rogue get mid-20s gas mileage in the city, low 30s for highway; the Rav4 slightly less (although the Toyota does come with 2 years' free maintenance, which IMHO offsets the 2-3 MPG differential).

I checked out the Ford Escape, and the mileage drops another couple MPG, plus it doesn't have the same options at the price point (yes, the Ford is more expensive than the Honda, Nissan, or Toyota!) Another consideration is resale - the three Japanese SUVs will sell for 2X what the Ford commands when we sell in 10 or so years. And by that I mean the CR-V/Rogue/Rav4 will still be worth *something*...

Dodge doesn't offer a small SUV - the smallest they offer is the Journey, which get s 16 MPG on the highway. Jeep offers the Cherokee, Compass, Renegade, and Patriot; all are in the right price range, but at lower gas mileage numbers than any of the Japanese SUVs (21 MPG city vs. 26). The advantage to Jeep is that, since it's the same parent as the Earthf**ker, that's where I'm likely to see the highest trade-in value.

There are a LOT of options in this price range, especially with a decent trade-in. If the Mrs. is going to take the vehicle once it's paid off, it would help for it to be comfortable, dependable, and similar to what she's been driving (CR-V gets the edge here). There are going to be a lot of test-drives in my future - given that I spend 2+ hours a day in my vehicle (and make the occasional 1,000+ mile round-trip to ME), I need something that is comfortable to drive *and* sit in traffic in. That means features and accessories.

A lot of the final deal is going to come down to price - specifically, who's willing to negotiate. I know the MSRP of each car with the accessories I want, and I have a rough idea what my truck is worth, as well as what most of the manufacturers claim it's worth. If a dealer wants to offer me significantly below book value for the Dodge, they'd better be offering a staggering discount on the new vehicle, or I walk. I'm not beholden to anyone, and if enough of them piss me off, I'll rehab the damn Ram and they won't get a single penny out of me.

Looks like there are going to be a lot of test drives in my future...

That is all.

21 comments:

gunfreezone said...

so you are going from Earth F**er to Earth Molester?

Knucklehead said...

Honda's CR-V is a very useful car. Whimpy in the power department but useful and comfortable. There are two in our family. Might want to just maintain and drive the Pilot. Another good car.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Subaru's have a good rep also. Plus, you can "Stealth" them out by a few well-placed TreeHugger stickers, "Coexist" labels, etc. Might be useful when you have to go to Liberalville for business.

Anonymous said...

My CRV has been trouble free and as an AWD it's pretty fair in the snow. Best mileage on long trips has been 26 MPG and locally it's about 22 MPG. The Subie was a nicer car but cost of ownership goes up as soon as repairs are needed. With 170K, the CRV has had two sets of brakes. That's it.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

PS Still have the 4WD V-8 F-150 so I don't have to turn in my man card.

Gerry

Paul, Dammit! said...

My wife's CRV is OK. A bit anemic when you stomp on the pedal with the AC cranked- the AWD version gets surprisingly low mileage, as you've seen. It's a surprisingly comfortable ride, good storage space, too, although the maintenance factor is a bit higher than I expected- certainly higher than my Ram was.

ProudHillbilly said...

My Subaru Outback has gotten up to 33 mph on drives to MI. Lowest so far in my more local running around is 27.8.

ProudHillbilly said...

My Subaru Outback has gotten up to 33 mph on drives to MI. Lowest so far in my more local running around is 27.8.

ProudHillbilly said...

My Subaru Outback has gotten up to 33 mph on drives to MI. Lowest so far in my more local running around is 27.8.

Alien said...

Never buy a car unarmed - know exactly what the dealer cost of the car is (extra points for knowing how much holdback the dealer gets), and if you must trade, exactly what your trade-in is worth. Selling the used vehicle rather than trading it gets you more $$, but it's like managing a house sale/move - how long will you be without wheels. If the budget allows, selling the trade-in after buying the new and using that lump sum to buy your way down the amortization table isn't a bad idea.

Pro tip: run an amortization table (bankrate.com has them) to see the advantage of making double principal payments early in the loan. Works on houses, too.

Don't forget "lightly used" - repossessions (check with your bank, they may have a line on some), and 1-2 year old used.

abnormalist said...

I'm going to go ahead and pimp the Subaru forrester, and the Mazda CX5.

Both are awesome little utes for the money

B said...

Just FYI:
A dodge dealer isn't going to give you any more for your trade thatn any other dealer.

Jay G said...

B,

We got $2,500 more for our Durango at the Dodge dealership than we were offered at Toyota.

Hence why I am driving a Dodge Ram and not a Toyota Tundra. The dealership tried to fuck with me on the trade in. I walked.

I'm actually putting the RAV4 at the bottom on the list because I'm STILL pissed at Toyota some 9 years later.

ZerCool said...

MrsZ drove a '10 CR-V for about three years. We shopped it against the Rogue and RAV4 as well. The Rogue was a nice car but typical Nissan - great to drive but the overall fit/finish/"quality feel" was a bit lacking. (About how I feel about my Frontier vs a Tacoma.) MrsZ vetoed the RAV4 because of blind spots.

Unfortunately, the CR-V was never what we'd hoped for. Low mileage, low power, and while it was better in the snow than her Civic had been, it was no great shakes. It was relatively comfortable for trips, at least.

GfZ just got a new Subaru Forester, and I've been quite impressed with it thus far. 29-31mpg average, comfortable, well-equipped even as a "base" model... I like it. A lot.

And just in case you hadn't seen it... https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/srt-hellcat-hemi-engines-might-not-survive-2019-173010561.html

danno said...

Me old mum (a music teacher) had a CRV (Because the neighbor across the road had one and she liked it). Dad (an engineer) hated it because the mileage sucked.

My SO picked the Ford Edge (absolutely zero input from me, and that's a good thing). Enough room for 4 FS adults but then we don't have much snow and/or ice to deal with at the SandCastle. YMMV.

Will said...

Doing a trade-in at the dealership is just giving them room to screw with you money-wise. WAY too easy for them. Sell the truck yourself.

There are only TWO reasons that dealers like trade-ins:

They make MORE money (mostly from you).

It brings in the lazy people who can't be bothered to manage their own money.

Anonymous said...

I'm on my second Subaru. It would take a lot get me away from them. Currently have a forester with a stick shift and it is a great car.

Mark Matis said...

Have you looked at the Chevy Captiva? Only sells new to fleets, but used ones are available. A friend bought one a year ago, and is very happy with it. Smaller than the Equinox, but still an SUV. From Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Antara

Heath J said...

Little Sis has a 13' Rav 4. It's a fun little car. Enough giddyup to feel like driving a go-cart after being in the Freightliner all day.

Jim said...

Don't know how it is where you live, but in Texas, the negotiated value of the trade is deducted from the "top line" of the new vehicle contract before sales tax is calculated.

So, if you've got a $20k trade for your Ram, then it's true value in the whole deal is +$1,250, with a 6.25% vehicle sales tax factor. In other words, that $20k trade offer carries a $21,250 true value.

Now, if you can privately sell the Ram at $21,250 or better.... make it at least $500 better, just do account for your own hassle of marketing it, showing/test driving it, and then making sure the SOB who buys it actually registers it in their own name... then yeah, sell it yourself.

Otherwise, if the numbers are close enough to parity, you're just as well to trade it, and let the dealer bear all the reconditioning costs, marketing costs, and at least your liability comes to an end once those papers are signed.

There is no perfect answer, merely your balancing all the pros n' cons to your personal satisfaction.



Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Dan F said...

My 2014 CRV has worked well enough in the snow and hills here in north MN, including semi-plowed 5am commutes to work. I get about 31-33mpg highway going between Duluth and Minneapolis.
Can't comment on the other choices, having no experience with them other than test-driving a Rogue. The interior felt a little cheap, but Nissan just started a new generation for that model, so maybe it's different now.